With the Childhood Obesity Conference happening right now in Long Beach, CA, we thought it was a fitting time to address childhood obesity and some of the top ways to combat and reverse it. It’s no secret that the number of children in the US that are overweight or obese is overwhelming. And, to make it worse, that number is still growing at an astounding rate. But, the goal of the conference is to “Accelerate Progress”. So, what can we do to accelerate progress? As many of you remember from our last blog, we discussed some resources that are available to parents and educators to provide to children. Today, we wanted to provide some easy ways to teach health, nutrition and fitness to kids.
NCES MyPlate Lunch & Learn Placemat – Use at the breakfast/lunch or dinner table either at home or on the go. Designed specifically for kids, this placemat educates your child about the five major food groups while engaging their critical thinking skills as they work through the fun activities on the back.
NCES EIEO tear pad – Use these handouts to help motivate kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity in daily. It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
NCES Right-Sized Plate – With two designs, one for adults and one for kids, these colorful plates provide portioned sections for measuring out portions. This is great for kids so they can learn all about portion control by filling each section of their plate.daily. It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Whiz Zip and Zap cookbook – Get your kids in the kitchen to start cooking so they can see how fun it is. Summer is a greattime to engage your kids in activities like helping to cook family meals. It has been proven that kids who participate in cooking with their parents or caregivers have healthier eating habits. This cookbook provides simple recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.
Scratch and Sniff Learning cards – These interactive scratch and sniff cards provide a fun way for kids to learn about and try new fruits and vegetables. First, have them smell the card. Then, have them taste the actual fruit and vegetable to compare the scent and taste. They can also note what they liked most and least about the foods.
Let’s Move, Fuel Up to Play 60 and Kids Eat Right! What do all these programs have in common? They are all newly created programs aimed at helping kids get active and eat healthy. The problem is that despite all of their great efforts, childhood obesity is still on the rise! According to the CDC, Childhood Obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. As more attention has been given to the issue, the problem has only continued to get worse. So, what’s the big deal? That’s simple! These children are at an increased risk to develop in to obese adults, opening them up to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, several types of cancer and much more. Not to mention the immediate health risks such as pre-diabetes, sleep apnea and bone and joint problems; just to name a few!
The health costs associated with overweight and obese children are staggering as well! “Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs”. 2 Who pays for that? Of course, we all do. But, it’s also a huge expense for the parents of these overweight children. There has been a lot of research in to the economic impact of childhood obesity and obesity as a whole! Much of this information can be found at this link.
The good news is that we can turn this around. It takes more than just a few organizations taking the initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids. We all need to use the resources available to raise healthy kids. Talk to your friends, family members and neighbors to make sure everyone you know has the resources they need to get healthy. Included below is a list of resource websites that have great information and games for teaching children about health and nutrition. The 7th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference is coming up this month. Reach out to a childhood obesity specialist if you have any specifics questions, concerns or are interested in being a part of the solution. Of course, all of us here at NCES are always here to help! Please browse the Educated Kids section of our website to browse games, tear pads and other tools for teaching children about nutrition. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay on top of all the latest nutrition news!
Child Nutrition Resource Websites:
“School’s out for summer. School’s out Forever!” Well, if you’ve got kids home with you, it may sometimes feel like it’s going to last forever, especially if you’re working hard to come up with healthy meals and snacks. But, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are so many resources available for parents that want to feed their kids healthy, balanced meals. The most common resource available is the USDA MyPlate. The MyPlate icon provides a visual of what every plate should look like for every meal. With basic tips like filling half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, MyPlate makes nutrition easy both at home and on the go!
Based around the MyPlate concept, NCES has developed a line of Right-Sized portion products, including educational handouts and portion plates. For tots and kids, you can use the NCES handouts, A Healthy S.T.A.R.T. for Tiny Tots and A Healthy S.T.A.R.T. for Cool Kids. These handouts are packed full of super snack ideas, fantastic family meal must-haves and a table of healthy calorie intake ranges for children ages 2-12. They also focus on teaching the NCES S.T.A.R.T. concept for health and nutrition. And, let’s not forget food safety. While the kids are home with you this summer, it’s a great time to get them involved in preparing meals. When kids understand the foods they’re eating, they are more likely to choose healthy foods.
Portion plates are also an easy way to encourage healthy eating at every meal. Divided out to make sure that kids fill their plates with the right amount of foods from each food group, these plates make healthy meals an easy choice! Around the edge of the plate, kids can read about how to fit physical activity in to their day, as well as tips about choosing the right foods to fill each section of their plate.
So, there it is! A few simple tricks to make healthy meal planning an easy chore this summer. So, stop stressing about what to feed your kids and start enjoying the beautiful sunshine that comes with summer!
Are you ready to order your NCES Healthy S.T.A.R.T. handouts? Here are a few snack ideas that we pulled out for you to use until yours arrive! As always, if you have any questions, visit us at www.ncescatalog.com. Write on our wall at www.facebook.com/ncescatalog, or call us at 877.NCES.BOOKS.
- Dry Whole Grain Cereal
- Fun Fruit
- String Cheese
- Baked Tortilla Chips & Salsa